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VISION 2018 | Looking firmly ahead | Stats and Background

  • By Jason Stockwell

The VISION show, the machine vision industry’s bash which takes place every two years near the charming City of Stuttgart, rarely disappoints and this year’s event was a cracker.


The traditional first day press conference saw an upbeat statement from the organisers Messe Stuttgart, declaring that VISION 2018 is “…bigger, more international, more dynamic…” and is “… the leading world trade fair for machine vision.”

As predicted, the event broke a number of records with some 11,106 professionals visiting the event in Stuttgart, an increase of 14% compared to the previous event.

This is a new visitor record and the proportion of visitors who came to VISION Stuttgart from abroad rose to a record 47%

Dr Klaus-Henning Noffz (above), CEO of Silicon Software and President of the VDMA Machine Vision sector group, said: “VISION is the world’s leading trade fair in the sector and was the pulse for machine vision for three days. In particular, the quality of the discussions and the great visitor interest in concrete solutions are impressive.

“Machine vision technology has long since established itself as the ‘eye’ and data supplier for Industry 4.0 and countless non-industrial application areas. The innovative strength and dynamism of the industry are promising, so we are already excited to see what VISION 2020 has in store from 10 to 12 November.”

Other figures which were released revealed more about the show.

For example, 472 exhibitors from 31 countries presented their products and services in Stuttgart. The corresponding figure in 2016 was 440.

The proportion of international exhibitors has also now risen by 3% to 60%, with the most widely represented countries being the USA with 44 exhibitors and the People’s Republic of China with 35 exhibitors. The amount of occupied net exhibition space was the highest ever at over 12,000 square metres.

“We are delighted that our target of 450 exhibitors has been surpassed,” said Florian Niethammer, VISION Project Manager. “This result clearly reflects the positive development of the machine vision industry.“ He added that in addition to the trend towards more internationalisation, the large number of new exhibitors (25%) is also an indication of the current dynamism in the machine vision industry. “This fits in with our motto this year, i.e. BE VISIONARY“, said Niethammer. “An appeal through which we want to encourage exhibitors and visitors alike to continue thinking and acting in future in a brave, visionary and revolutionary way.“

New application areas

The VDMA Machine Vision sector group, the promotional supporter of VISION, also regarded the development of the machine vision industry as a success story and is expecting stable turnover in 2018.

Dr Noffz again: “Despite all the challenges, the mood in the industry is positive and the growth trend will generally continue. Machine vision is well-established in production and is continually conquering new application areas, also outside the factory environment – permanently in use for improved quality, greater reliability and more security. Embedded vision in combination with deep learning will stimulate further growth.

“Turnover in the German machine vision industry has doubled in the last ten years. Between 2013 and 2017, the industry experienced average annual growth of 13 per cent. Last year alone, the growth rate was almost 18 per cent.“

VDMA also said that the future potential of machine vision lies not only in the worldwide trend towards automation, but also in the areas outside the factory environment.

The organisation said: “This development can already be felt. The VDMA Machine Vision sector group stated, for example, that the share of turnover of the German machine vision industry in nonindustrial sectors was already 26% in 2017 while turnover itself rose by 16%. The growth drivers are regarded as the segments of security and surveillance, intelligent traffic systems, and medical diagnostic apparatus and operation equipment.”

New players and trends

Much was made of a number of trends which have been emerging from the industry.

An example of which was Deep Learning solution provider Adaptive. According to General Manager Michał Czardybon, Deep Learning technology is about to make a huge impact in the machine vision industry.

Much was made of a number of trends which have been emerging from the industry.

An example of which was Deep Learning solution provider Adaptive. According to General Manager Michał Czardybon, Deep Learning technology is about to make a huge impact in the machine vision industry.

Hyperspectral Imaging was another trend at the show

Tapio Kallonen, CEO of Specim in Finland, explained: “Until now, the problem in applying Hyperspectral Imaging has been than it can only give a raw data output which doesn’t give a solution to any industrial player yet. The goal of Specim is to make Hyperspectral Imaging easy. We want to remove the barriers and need of special expertise required to apply Hyperspectral Imaging in an industrial environment. Our history is in remote sensing and environmental monitoring with that expertise in the last years we invested heavily in the industrial use of robust cameras.” He said that their hyperspectral solutions already give added value for clients in the food, waste and recycling industries by improving accuracy and liability in detection of defects and parts. He also regarded VISION 2018 as a success for Specim: “We’ve had many interesting visitors at our stand here at VISION 2018. A lot of them came with their samples in their pocket. That was very exciting as we were able to directly check how Hyperspectral Imaging can help them through testing right at our booth. This alone was justification enough to be here in Stuttgart.”

Also making an impact was first-time exhibitor Inspekto. Harel Boren, CEO of Inspekto, said: ‘‘VISION 2018 has been a revelation. Inspekto launched the world’s first ever Autonomous Machine Vision product at the show and the reception has been incredible. Our stand was inundated by interested customers for our Plug and Inspect product Inspekto S70.

“The historic approach, using an integrator to go through the lengthy and complex selection of cameras, lenses, lighting and software can take months – our system can be installed in 30 minutes.

This affordability and immediacy means that QA managers can install the product at several points on their production line, avoiding unnecessary scrap and making savings on their bottom line. We call this Total QA and it has been hugely popular at VISION 2018’

More on Inspekto at the end of this feature

Michael Engel, Managing Director of Vision Components, touched on the embedded concept: “For us at Vision Components, VISION as the industry highlight is the ideal opportunity to meet our customers and partners and present our new developments. More than 20 years ago, we were one of the first exhibitors to offer smart cameras at VISION. We have consistently continued this ‘embedded’ concept and this year presented our brand-new MIPI camera modules.

“As someone who has been with VISION since its beginnings, I am overwhelmed by this year’s numbers of exhibitors and visitors. They show that machine vision has long since developed from a niche technology to an established and powerful sector. I was once again delighted to be an exhibitor at VISION 2018 and a member of the VISION Award jury”.

Award

The VISION Award 2018 for innovation went to Slovakian company Photoneo for its PhoXi 3D camera.

Worth €5,000, the award is for the most innovative development in the machine vision sector. The highest resolution and most accurate 3D camera in the world, according to the company, is based on the Parallel Structured Light Technology patented by Photoneo, which is implemented by a proprietary CMOS image sensor. For the first time, the technology lets users capture high resolution images of moving objects at a maximum speed of 40 metres per second. Thanks to more efficient deep coding technology with real pixel measurement, the camera achieves ten times higher resolution and precision than competitor technologies.

The start-up Photoneo was founded in 2013 with the idea of revolutionising 3D vision technology. Within a few years, the initial team of four became a successful company with around 80 employees and a wide worldwide network of distributors and certified integrators. Today, the product portfolio includes high quality hardware like the PhoXi 3D scanner family, PhoXi 3D camera and autonomous mobile robot, Phollower 100, and various software applications for bin picking.

Explaining its decision to make Photoneo the winner of the award, the VISION Award jury cited the company’s high technological standards and the outstanding innovation of its submission, which reveals a completely new approach to the 3D acquisition of moving objects.

Gabriele Jansen, Managing Director of the M&A consulting firm, Vision Ventures and member of the VISION Award jury, also emphasized the high relevance of the PhoXi 3D camera for machine vision. She said: “The market potential for 3D applications in machine vision is huge. A whole portfolio of different 3D technologies is available for mastering the many different tasks. One technology, however, we have painfully missed so far: the high accuracy snap-shot area scan of large work areas in motion. Now Photoneo has closed the gap and is presenting the market with the Phoxi 3D Camera, a unique product to date.”

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